Tag Archives: won

Review of Spring, by Karl Ove Knausgaard

I won an ARC of Karl One Knausgaard‘s Spring.

Description from Goodreads:

Today is Wednesday the thirteenth of April 2016, it is twelve minutes to eleven, and I have just finished writing this book for you. What happened that summer nearly three years ago, and its repercussions, are long since over.

Sometimes it hurts to live, but there is always something to live for.

Spring follows a father and his newborn daughter through one day in April, from sunrise to sunset. A day filled with everyday routine, the beginnings of life and its light, but also its deep struggles and its darkness.

Review:

Generally lovely. It wonders a bit (as I’m told Knausgaard is known for), I had a certain nagging sense that this should have been his wife’s story to tell, not his, and narratives where people paint themselves too well are always a little suspect. But as a book written by a father to his newly born daughter (a fourth child), it is very sweet. There is real love apparent here. In a world saturated with stories of toxic masculinity it was a real pleasure to read about a father valuing his children and family. Despite not reading the previous books in the series (and my copy anomalously missing the 8 pages between 102-111) I followed this without issue and would be happy to read more.

Review of Land on Fire: The New Reality of Wildfire in the West, by Gary Ferguson

I won an ARC of Land on Fire, by Gary Ferguson, quite some time ago. It’s languished on my shelf ever since. But I finally read it.

Description from Goodreads:

Wildfire season is burning longer and hotter, affecting more and more people, especially in the west. Land on Fire explores the fascinating science behind this phenomenon and the ongoing research to find a solution. This gripping narrative details how years of fire suppression and chronic drought have combined to make the situation so dire. Award-winning nature writer Gary Ferguson brings to life the extraordinary efforts of those responsible for fighting wildfires, and deftly explains how nature reacts in the aftermath of flames. Dramatic photographs reveal the terror and beauty of fire, as well as the staggering effect it has on the landscape.

Review:

I thought this was a pretty informative introduction to fighting modern forest fires. I certainly learned a lot that I didn’t previously know; but I think the book is best suited to people like me. If you had any substantial knowledge going in, I don’t know that it would add much. I wouldn’t call this a research text.

I appreciated that Ferguson didn’t refer to all his hypothetical fire fighters as male (it’s the little things that make a difference sometimes) and the book is quite readable, with a lot of pictures to help visualize the subject matter. Further, while I expected the answer to the posed question of ‘Why are fires getting bigger, hotter and more frequent?’ to be ‘climate change,’ it was a lot more nuanced than I expected (even if climate change was a large part of it). 

I did notice that a lot of the quotes are from the same few people, much of the researched cited comes from the same few institutions (there apparently aren’t a lot funded to study fire), and there are fairly few citations (less than 10 for most chapters and many of those from online). So, it felt like the knowledge pool tapped was fairly shallow. But again, for an introduction to the subject, intended for lay people, I think it’s worth picking up.

Review of Girl Waits With Gun/Lady Cop Makes Trouble, by Amy Stewart

I won copies of book 1 & 2 of the Kopp Sisters series, Girl Waits With Gun and Lady Cop Makes Trouble (by Amy Stewart), through Reading Group Choices.

Description of Girl Waits With Gun:

Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared.  

Review:

I started this not really knowing what to expect, but with high hopes. I’m happy to say they were sustained. Stewart’s writing is snappy and quite readable. Plus, I simply appreciated so very much about the character Constance. I loved that she’s a woman in her mid-thirties, a ‘substantial’ woman with a past, and not even willing to pretend to the frailties expected of women of the time. Further, her sister Norma is the anti-social introvert we all know and love somewhere in our lives, while Fleurette added some levity. I also liked that the book resisted falling into a romance, even if the elements are there. All in all, I think the best way to tell you how much I liked this book is to say that I read it AND HALF OF BOOK TWO in one day. To say I devoured them would be an understatement.

Description of Lady Cop Makes Trouble:

After besting (and arresting) a ruthless silk factory owner and his gang of thugs in Girl Waits with Gun, Constance Kopp became one of the nation’s first deputy sheriffs. She’s proven that she can’t be deterred, evaded, or outrun. But when the wiles of a German-speaking con man threaten her position and her hopes for this new life, and endanger the honorable Sheriff Heath, Constance may not be able to make things right. 

Lady Cop Makes Trouble sets Constance loose on the streets of New York City and New Jersey–tracking down victims, trailing leads, and making friends with girl reporters and lawyers at a hotel for women. Cheering her on, and goading her, are her sisters Norma and Fleurette–that is, when they aren’t training pigeons for the war effort or fanning dreams of a life on the stage. 

Review:

While I didn’t love this book quite as much as the first, I still greatly enjoyed it. The one thing holding me back was that Constance really pushed her luck and repeatedly disobeyed orders in this one and heroes/heroines that get away with what other characters wouldn’t is one of my pet peeves in books. Beyond that however, I continued to love Constance as a character, really liked seeing Norma start to step out of her shell and grow, and I was happy to see the Sheriff solidified into and even more solid character too. I look forward to continuing the series.